The legend of King Arthur (King Arthur in English) is the story of how one man became king of England. The story is a myth, which means it’s not based on fact. Arthur’s scant historical background is gleaned from various sources, including the Annales Cambriae, the Historia Brittonum, and the writings of Gildas. Arthur’s name also occurs in early poetic sources such as Y Gododdin.
The legendary Arthur developed as a figure of international interest largely due to the popularity of the imaginative Historia Regum Britannia and of 1100 by Geoffrey of Monmouth.
Geoffrey depicted Arthur as a king of Britain who defeated the Saxons and founded a vast empire. Many elements and incidents which are now integral to Arthurian history appear in Geoffrey’s Historia, including Arthur’s father Uther Pendragon, the wizard Merlin, Arthur’s wife Guinevere, the sword Excalibur, the conception of Arthur at Tintagel, his final battle against Mordred at Camlann, and final rest at Avalon.
Lo French writer of 1000 Chrétien de Troyes added Lancelot and the Holy Grail to history, with these first texts the genre of the Arthurian novel began which became a significant trend of medieval literature and was called the Arthurian cycle. Simply put these were the great medieval romances. One of the most famous stories of this cycle is “The Knight of the Cart”. The story tells of a knight loyal to King Arthur and his queen, Guinevere. He helps them by saving them from an evil knight who has captured Guinevere and taken her to a tower. In these French stories, the narrative focus often shifts from King Arthur himself to other characters, such as various Knights of the Round Table. In the following centuries the legend became less important, but it was revised at the time of romanticism in the 1800.
King Arthur is a legendary figure from the mythical past, according to medieval stories and romances. The details of Arthur’s story are primarily composed of traditional tales and artistic license, but some details have likely been proven to be based on actual history.
Arthur’s existence has historically been debated by scholars and the general public since at least the Middle Ages . The legend became even more elaborate in 1333, when it was first translated from classical Latin .
Although most scholars today agree that Arthur was probably a real historical figure who led the British resistance against the invading Anglo-Saxons at the end of the 5th century, they disagree on many aspects of his life: who he was, when he lived, what he did and what year he lived.
The legend begins in the 5th century when Britain was struggling to find a ruler. A group of knights called the Knights of the Round Table were looking for someone who could help England return to peace. One day they found Merlin, an old wizard, and told them that they needn’t search anymore because their future king was always with them. He was Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon and heir to the throne.
There are basically two legends about King Arthur. The best known today portrays Arthur as a chivalrous king who held a magnificent court at Camelot with his company of Knights of the Round Table. The second shows that he is a Romanised Briton who, as a famous war chief, temporarily halted the invading Anglo-Saxons.
There has been a growing interest in this recently. latest version and popular novels like The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell reflected this idea and tried to give historical realism to the story.
However, the general view of Arthur remains one which was inspired by Le Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory and reinforced in the epoch Victorian by Lord Tennyson. Thus the traditional Arthurian epic opens at the castle of Tintagel.
In those days there was a mighty duke called Gorlois. King Uther had been so attracted to his wife Igraine that, when she rejected his advances, he led the royal army into Cornwall to besiege Gorlois at Castle Terrabil while Lady Igraine remained in charge at Tintagel.
During the siege Merlin magically transformed Uther into the physical likeness of Igraine’s husband and with this ruse he spent the night with her, and thus the future King Arthur was conceived. The same night Gorlois was killed in battle and soon after Uther married Igraine. Since the child had been conceived outside the royal wedlock, which could lead to difficulties in the succession, when he was born he was entrusted to Merlin who took him to Sir Ector.
The story continued with the young Arthur proving his right to the kingship by removing a sword from a stone in the graveyard of London’s largest church, a sword that could only be removed by the True King. After his coronation Arthur received the enchanted sword Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake and, following his marriage to Guinevere, established the Panel discussion. It all seems very plausible after all, the Lord of the Lake is often encountered.
In the early days of the Round Table the king lost his mentor, Merlin. The wizard was infatuated with Nimue, one of the Ladies of the Lake , who took her magical secrets but gave nothing in return. At this point it turns out Lancelot was always in conflict between remaining loyal to Arthur or declaring his love for Guinevere.
began to dominate the story with his personal conflict between his loyalty to Arthur and his illicit love for Guinevere. This classic triangle was to lead to the dissolution of the Round Table Fellowship when it was exploited by the evil Sir Meliagaunt and Mordred, Arthur’s secret son. They arranged for Lancelot to be arrested in the Queen’s Chamber at Carlisle, thus proving his treason. When word reached Carlisle that Arthur, who was on a hunting trip, did not would return by nightfall, Lancelot took the opportunity to visit Guinevere’s room.
While they were together Mordred and a dozen knights loyal to his cause burst into the room. Lancelot fought his way, leaving Guinevere guilty of treason and, to Arthur’s despair, condemned to be burned at the stake. Meanwhile Lancelot gathered a band of sympathizers through his nephew Sir Bors so that when the Queen, was led out of Carlisle Castle at the place of execution, they galloped to her rescue and carried her safely to her castle.
The castle was besieged by Arthur until the Pope sent a message to the Bishop of Rochester threatening to place England under interdiction unless hostilities ceased and Guinevere reverted to Arthur as his wife. Lancelot obeyed the papal command, returned Guinevere to Arthur at Carlisle and then sailed from Cardiff to Bayonne. Here he established his court, and Arthur, encouraged by Sir Gawain, whose two younger brothers had been killed when Lancelot rescued Guinevere at Carlisle, brought an army into France to take revenge on the knight who had once been champion of the Round Table.
Death of Arthur
In England, Mordred Arthur’s secret son, arranged for false reports to arrive from abroad that Arthur had died in battle, whereupon he himself was crowned in Canterbury. His triumph was short-lived, as Arthur soon returned with his army to recapture his kingdom. There was a battle that lasted all day, Arthur arrived where Mordred leaned on his sword surrounded by corpses
Arthur pierced Mordred with his spear. Impaled, the dying man pushed along the handle of the weapon until he managed to strike the king in the side of the head with his sword. He then dropped dead as Arthur collapsed unconscious. The sword Excalibur was brought back into the waters and a barge appeared in which were three black-draped queens who carried away the dying king to Avalon.
The Story of King Arthur continues to fascinate now after about 1333 years, many don’t even know the whole story but know the names of the protagonists such as Lancelot and Merlin.